in·​fer·​no | \ in-ˈfər-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce inferno (audio) \
plural infernos

Definition of inferno

: a place or a state that resembles or suggests hell the inferno of war also : an intense fire : conflagration a raging inferno

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Examples of inferno in a Sentence

By the time help arrived, the fire had grown to a raging inferno. the intense heat of the raging inferno repeatedly drove back the firefighters

Recent Examples on the Web

The animal chutes blocked the escape as the oil and wax that had been used to waterproof the tent caught fire and turned the big top into a raging inferno. Steven Goode,, "His mother died saving his life during the Hartford Circus Fire, but Jerry LeVasseur turned a catastrophe into a lifetime of opportunity," 6 July 2019 The explosion turned the 21-foot-high tunnel into an inferno of blazing gases. Scott Harrison,, "From the Archives: Blast in Sylmar water tunnel kills 17," 24 June 2019 Huge stocks of carbon that had been sequestered in the wetlands over thousands of years were lost in the inferno. Ian Willms, National Geographic, "Tree-planting programs can do more harm than good," 26 Apr. 2019 Already ranked as the most destructive wildfire in California history, the Camp Fire has now tied the deadliest on record, matching the 29 fatalities in a 1933 inferno. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Firefighters Battle Deadly California Wildfires," 12 Nov. 2018 But these numbers also highlight Slack's potential to be an inferno for anyone who prizes their time, focus, privacy and some semblance of an anxiety-free life inside and outside the office. Seth Fiegerman, CNN, "Slack is ruining my life and I love it," 20 June 2019 Patrick Mahoney, 37, is a firefighter in Baytown, Texas, a city full of refineries and chemical plants, where taking on an inferno is all in a day's work. CBS News, "Firefighters battle occupational cancer," 16 June 2019 Sudan is wobbling on a cliff-edge above an inferno. The Economist, "How to stop Sudan sliding into war," 14 June 2019 The beachfront homes are packed tightly along the Strand, which meant the fiery inferno was just a few feet from homes where some neighbors were sleeping soundly. Hannah Fry,, "Man suspected of arson arrested after ‘massive fireball’ tears through home in Hermosa Beach," 13 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inferno.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of inferno

1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inferno

Italian, hell, from Late Latin infernus

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Statistics for inferno

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for inferno

The first known use of inferno was in 1834

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More Definitions for inferno



English Language Learners Definition of inferno

: a very large and dangerous fire

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More from Merriam-Webster on inferno

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inferno

Spanish Central: Translation of inferno

Nglish: Translation of inferno for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inferno for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inferno

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food or victuals

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